Today the Telegraph & Argus is launching a campaign to keep hatred and violence off the streets of our beloved city.
We are asking T&A readers to join us in persuading the Home Secretary to stop a planned demonstration (like the one pictured, in Bolton) by the English
Defence League in Bradford at the end of August.
Quite simply, it is something that this city does not need, want or welcome.
We believe that if this march were to go ahead it could only damage community relations and threaten the prosperity and harmony of the city and district.
More than in any other city, those of us who lived through the riots of nearly ten years ago know only too well what devastation displays of hatred and intolerance can cause.
The EDL claims to be a “grass roots social movement” which represents, in its words, “every walk of life, every race, every creed and every colour; from the working class to middle England”.
The truth is very different. It is an organisation which thrives on fear, untruths, rumours and hatred and one whose message is divisive to the point where it is dangerous It will argue that its
march is to highlight issues relating to radical Islam but it is impossible to see it as anything other than an attempt to stir up hatred against all Muslims.
Do not doubt that the appearance of its members in huge numbers in Bradford could be a disaster for the city and the district.
Bradford is a city rich in many cultures – something of which we can be justifiably proud.
Why should we invite people into our community whose very presence would be a huge insult to part of that community and even put a strain on the good relations between people of different
No doubt some people will say that to stop the EDL from demonstrating would infringe their human rights.
What about the human rights of all of us who live here peacefully and do not want these unsavoury characters anywhere near our city?
Some will doubtless claim that the EDL’s freedom of speech is being curtailed.
They are wrong, because when that speech is dripping with venom and designed purely to stir up hatred then a stand must be taken.
Wherever and whenever the EDL has mounted demonstrations across the UK there has been violence, vandalism and hatred.
That is a fact which cannot be disputed – and we do not want that on the streets of our city.
Bradford has come a long way since the dark days of the riots and that is a credit to all of its people.
No one should be allowed to put that progress at risk.
No one should be allowed to jeopardise what we have in this city for an agenda of hate and intolerance.
A group of organisations has united under the Bradford Together banner and is calling for the Home Secretary to ban the demonstration.
A ban on public gatherings is not something that should be entered into lightly, and a lot of thought has gone into whether such a restraining move would play into the hands of the EDL and their
But when the peace that has largely settled upon Bradford since the disturbances of 2001 is threatened, then sometimes the tools of last resort must be investigated.
That is why we urge you to sign the petition, in the paper and on our website, to add your voices to those who do not want the EDL and its hangers-on ruining our city and damaging community
relations for years to come.
The fact that most of those EDL supporters who plan to descend on Bradford on Saturday, August 28, will come from outside the district speaks for itself.
These are not local people voicing local concerns, they are agitators and trouble-makers for whom Bradford is a place to exploit.
The message from us all to the EDL should be loud and clear: Bradford is not your battleground, and we don't want you here.